Ontario to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour - Macleans.ca
 

Ontario to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour

Liberal government also plans to ensure equal pay for part-time workers and increase minimum vacation entitlement


 
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne takes part in the closing press conference of the Meeting of First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Ontario's Liberal premier has written an open letter to newly announced candidate for Conservative leadership Kevin O'Leary criticizing his proposed policies and comments he made about Ontario's auto sector. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne takes part in the closing press conference of the Meeting of First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

TORONTO – Ontario is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, ensuring equal pay for part-time workers and increasing the minimum vacation entitlement as part of a major labour overhaul.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Tuesday in response to a government-commissioned report released last week that included 173 recommendations addressing precarious work.

“Change in the workplace isn’t just on the horizon, it’s here,” Wynne said. “People are working longer, jobs are less secure, benefits are harder to come by and protections are fewer and fewer. In a time of change like this, when the very nature of work is being transformed, we need to make certain that our workers are treated fairly.”

The Changing Workplaces review concluded that new technology, a shrinking manufacturing sector and fewer union jobs, among other factors, have left approximately one-third of Ontario’s 6.6 million workers vulnerable.

The report didn’t examine the minimum wage, which is currently indexed to inflation and had been set to rise from $11.40 to $11.60 in October, but Wynne said raising it will make a difference in millions of people’s lives.

The minimum wage will rise to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and is set to increase to $15 the following year. About 10 per cent of Ontario workers are currently making minimum wage, but about 30 per cent are making less than $15 an hour – the majority of them women.

“It has always been a challenge to raise a family on a minimum-wage job,” Wynne said. “But in recent years, it has become almost impossible. And the reality is more and more people are having to do it.”

Lower minimum wages for students under 18 and liquor servers will also rise during the same time frame, but those exemptions to the minimum wage will not be eliminated, as the report had recommended.

Wynne also announced that part-time workers will get equal pay for doing work equal to full-time staff, and that the minimum vacation entitlement will be increased. Instead of getting two weeks of vacation, workers will be able to get three weeks of paid vacation a year after five years with a company.

The changes to workplace laws will also establish fairer rules for scheduling, including making employers pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours notice.

Personal emergency leave would also be expanded. Currently it is only available to employees at companies with more than 50 people, but proposed legislation would ensure all employees in the province get 10 days per year, two of them paid.


 

Ontario to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour

  1. Politically brilliant. A master stroke that steals the NDP’s main plank, while allowing her to paint the conservatives as being against low wage earners. But a disaster for retail and small businesses. Apparently they don’t face enough high costs doing business in Ontario yet. She doesn’t care about that. It’s about being re-elected.

    An increase to maybe 12.50 or even $13 would have been reasonable and workable. But this is ridiculous. She’s only doing it as a strategy to prevent votes bleeding to the NDP. What a destructive, self-serving nutjob this woman is. I’ve never seen a leader care so little about people or about the future.

  2. We’ve been through several hikes to the minimum wage…..and the same claim is made everytime about it harming business……..but it doesn’t happen.

    • How ignorant. Did you know that the percentage of Ontarians who work at minimum wage is now 3~4X higher than in Western Canada that does not have these minimum wage hikes? In other words, you can legislate wages all you want, but that doesn’t create high wages. The high wages have all left for BC and Alberta leaving Ontario with the largest pool of low wage workers in the entire country. Congratulations to Wynne’s socialism and people like you who support it. It’s the poor leading the poor because the rich has all left.

      • LOL what a load of rubbish.

      • Yawn

        I dunno where you live, but Alberta has the same

        • More BS, as you can see from my link that Alberta percentage of minimum wage workers is only half of Ontario’s rate. It use to be only 25% of Ontario’s rate. As Alberta just overtook Ontario in economic recovery, you will see again more minimum wage workers and higher unemployment in Ontario as you can’t legislate higher wages

        • More BS, as you can see from my link that Alberta percentage of minimum wage workers is only half of Ontario’s rate. It use to be only 25% of Ontario’s rate. As Alberta just overtook Ontario in economic recovery, you will see again more minimum wage workers and higher unemployment in Ontario as you can’t legislate higher wages

        • More BS, as you can see from my link that Alberta percentage of minimum wage workers is only half of Ontario’s rate. It use to be only 25% of Ontario’s rate. As Alberta just overtook Ontario in economic recovery, you will see again more minimum wage workers and higher unemployment in Ontario as you can’t legislate higher wages

          • LOL Yankee go home.

          • Are you learning yet that the EmiloonyOne does not have any reasoning skills? Facts are misogynist.

    • It’s never been hiked this much before. A 24% increase in a year and a half is nuts. I supported her last hike in the minimum, despite despising her personally, and also supported the indexing of minimum wage to inflation, but this is a desperate and reckless act by an amoral politician who long ago abandoned any notion of doing what is good for the province. And it’s the second one in 3 months. Deferring Hydro rates in order to hide the costs from current voters was the other. Those are not the acts of a responsible leader concerned about the future.

      • My mistake. It’s a 31.5% increase. Even more reckless than I thought. How many retail stores are already running on razor thin margins? This will close a lot of stores.

    • First of all… have you been to Ontario lately?
      Secondly, why not raise it to $20 then?
      Thank God I’m not a small business owner in this Allah-forsaken province.

      • Another load of rubbish.

        • I have never seen Ontario so poor in my life! It’s the only province in Canada where the poverty rate increased over the last 20 years. Not only did it increased, it’s now DOUBLE compared to the Harris years. And all this, poverty reduction through an activist government is what Wynne claims. Ronald Reagan said it best when he said the 5 most feared words from the government is “we are here to help”

          • Ontario is booming.

            Go home Yankee

        • Yankee go home is all you have to say! Sorry, I am Canadian born and Canadian bred! I have to protect MY COUNTRY from fools like you! Ontario is booming? Did you know that Wynne/McGuinty’s BEST economic year is LOWER than Harris’ WORST economic year! You are such a joke!

  3. This is what happens when you have fine arts graduate as your Premier. She doesn’t realize that you cannot LEGISLATE high wages, but have to CREATE high wages. A $15/hr minimum wage will just make it worst on the poor, just like all her other anti-poverty policies. Ontario’s poverty rate has DOUBLED since the Harris years despite all the new anti-poverty measures Wynne introduced. She reminds me of France who introduced the 35 hour work week to spread work around so there is less unemployed. End result is that France’s unemployment rate is now twice as high as the US unemployment rate that doesn’t have such stupid policies. Ontario will get poorer and poorer under Wynne.

    • Progressives are always looking to fix problems. It would be admirable if their toolkit wasn’t put together by academics and other pseudo-intellectuals who couldn’t run a peanut stand, let alone a real business.

  4. Kathleen Wynne is a disgrace. Morally bankrupt. Economically illiterate. Politically smart, I’ll give her that since the sheep will think this is a brilliant, progressive move. What a repugnant individual. No future in this place for anyone who wants to be successful. Unless you’re paid by the government of course.

  5. Wow….Cons really ARE depressed after the leadership choice. LOL

    • I didn’t vote Conservative last time and I won’t be in ’19 either. But go on, keep on calling people who don’t meet your socialist narrative as “Yankee” and ignoring the facts like a good little regressive girl.